The UBC Thunderbirds invite the Vancouver Canucks to practice and what a practice it was! "Drop and give me 20"
Hello Everyone! How are you all? Still waiting for word the lockout has ended? Me too but until then I will casually pop into watch some of the Vancouver Canucks practices out at UBC. Monday October 1st I had my morning to myself so I decided to pop by the rink. At first glance I was a little disappointed. I walked by the rink and saw yellow and blue jerseys. UBC was practicing on the rink where I had last watched the Canucks practice. Upon further review I realized that UBC was practicing with the Canucks! This was going to be a fun practice to watch I thought to myself and quickly grabbed a seat in the arena.
The "Vancouver 9" which has come to include Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Cory Schneider, Mason Raymond, Kevin Bieksa, Manny Malhotra, Chris Higgins, Max Lapierre and Willie Mitchell peppered throughout the dozen UBC hockey players, Monday at UBC. Plus Andrew Alberts made an appearance Monday. I am still waiting to see new Canuck Jason Garrison skate though.
I found this heart on the glass, Malhotra took a break, how could I not snap a photo!
If there is one thing I love about hockey, it is the noise. The sound of the skates cutting the ice, pucks being passed back and forth between sticks, the players communicating with each other, the sound of a player being thrown against the boards. Everything about it I love. I grew up dancing and like dance, hockey has a rhythm. Tap dancing for instance involves moving your feet and hitting the floor with your taps. This can be done to music or in silence. The trick is to understand the beat and not speed it up or slow it down. My dance mates and I growing up, on more then one occasion were busted by our tap teachers for dancing off the rhythm while learning a routine. Watching these athletes practice hockey is kind of the same parallel. They skate with each other. They watch plays unfold and no 2 players ever go after the puck at the same time. Rather they keep a wide open space, try to keep themselves open to receive a pass and either take a shot on net or get the puck out of their zone. The fluidity these players have is amazing. Watching the Vancouver Canucks practice last season I could tell you which player was which simply by watching them skate. Every single player on that team has a different skate style and they all know how to move amongst each other. So it was interesting to watch the "Vancovuer 9" play with the UBC's Men's Hockey team and move amongst them. There was still a fluidity to the practice but it looked slightly different. Another thing I love about watching practice, are the unspoken rules. Like dancing, we always had to have our hair tied back tightly and if we didn't we had to use one of those awful rubber hair ties which tears your hair out. We always had to have our uniforms on, and what the teachers told us to do we did. No questions asked. Hockey players are the exact same. When coach is talking, players often get down on one knee and listen. Coach says skate faster, they skate faster. Coach says drop and give me 20, the players drop and do 20 pushups. Players wait patiently on the benches or along the boards while their fellow teammates work on drills. All in all it was a great practice to watch and I can't wait to see if UBC invites the Canucks back to practice again.
Below you can check out a video I took at practice. It is a shootout drill. First team to get 5 goals wins. Losing team has to do 20 pushups. It was fun to watch and the best part is watching the losing team do pushups! Below that I have included a video from the Canucks season opener last year against the Pittsburgh Penguins. I was doing a little research last night and watched the highlight reel. Max Lapierre scored the 1st goal for the Canucks but the 2nd goal was scored by Keith Ballard. I couldn't believe the goal. Ballard, a D-man the Canucks got from Florida, blew my mind with that goal. When I talk about fluidity at practice with the players, this is when you see it in games. The speed on the ice, the passing of the puck, the trusting of your fellow teammates! Enjoy X
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